Schools are closed and kids are taught trough the web. Domestic spaces are used for remote classes and parents are made into web-technicians (I use 4-5hours a day to help in school work). Turns out our society is operated by google and microsoft. All kids have been assigned email addresses and are expected to use the ms-office365 suite and different google services. This is a really sad and shameful turnout. There are open source alternatives to all of the services the kids need and nothing to stop schools from using them. ms and google stuff is just as complicated to use. Corporations are using this situation to unashamedly establish their services as the infrastructure of all social and work related interactions.
Also turns out schools are absolutely obsessed with quantifiable results. This situation is teaching kids to perform school as a series of questionnaires and online presence which does not involve interaction. They are essentially learning to fake working. Schools in Finland should back down on their desire to “keep the kids in schools” during these times. Schools, with big class sizes and mass curriculum’s don’t really work for online learning. Learning online happens best when a student is given the liberty to decide how they pace their work and allowed to set their own goals. The schools current strategy of maintaining daily presence trough online services (ms/google) is hindering learning possibilities. Technically savvy families get the “faking working” experience with virtual punched cards and online meetings which are organized for the sake of having meetings, while other families are dropped out.
How can I help in this situation? I’ve written feedback to the schools and the Ministry of Education and Culture about the situation and asked them to give families more liberties in pacing school work. I don’t think my critique of the situation has any impact. Unfortunately it seems that our modern, corporation reliant, mass-society is combating these challenges by evolving to an even more modern and more controlled organization. This is a really bad strategy: Mass culture has no future, evolving into a surveillance society (which focuses on quantifiable performances) should not be an option. I don’t think my critique will be heard because citizens are using mostly social medias as a platform for organizing and voicing their concerns. It really feels one has to be a member of a corporation (though fb/twitter) to be a part of society! Why is our society allowing this to happen?
Pietari made a strong critique of the tone of a recent Kone foundation grant procedure. I agree with him: This crisis should not be made into a creative project and this crisis does not bring about an opportunity for change. Change happens after a crisis, when people feel secure enough to voice their fears and desires. Crisis only teaches people how to survive a crisis (or how to suffer) but it does not change people. Change requires resources, time and research. Rushing it causes people to retreat to established models. Which is why a call to use a crisis as an force to drive personal development feels like a hostile act. Why isn’t anyone offering their support for arts unconditionally? This would be a really good time for such a gesture.
Mobility and cultural activity between people and organizations that operate in European and West-Asian countries, which is deterrioralized by the shivering of the iron curtain (“No, it’s not about the money. Frieze London is of little interest to me and wines in Chișinău are much better. I’m more of an Easternational Artist”).
Kinship manifested by people whose histories and present identities are deeply affected by the fall of Constantinople.
Easternational Philosophy: A fringe of philosophical understanding which is know for a forthright critique of phenomenons of “development and progress”. It is rooted on the framework and lived experience of collapse as a state of being (best manifested by survivors of Chernobyl disaster). As a sociological investigation it studies guild caused by desires which could not be manifested (due to collapse). (“I never even wanted to have a microwave”).
* Term coined in a discussion with Andrej Polukord during the Performing the Fringe event in Stockholm. Moldovian views to contemporary easternational condition on Pietaris (new) blog atomipuutarha.blogspot.com (Finnish).
Visited Millainen ilmastomenu? panel at the Parliament House, Helsinki. The event was organized by the Ilmastomenu group and the panel led by Pietari Kylmälä. Anna Kontula was the star of the event. Her arguments reminded me that questions about sustainable food production are not about our relationship with an abstract entity called nature – Sustainable food production is a series of practical decisions, trough which the rich decide who (on our limited planet) have the right to continue living.
For awhile I thought that sassy artists & web designers working for sassy festivals and galleries were into brutalist, hard to use web pages because they want to challenge their audiences (See: brutalistwebsites.com ). It seemed there was a design movement which opposed the production of passive audiences. But I’ve now understood that these styles are not rebellious, they are compliant: Artists and organizations have messy web pages only because they rely on social medias. They can afford complicated, even artistic sites – Because they reach their audiences primarily through facebook events.
I’ve been thinking about style and ecology during the past weeks. I’m shocked by the amount of usable stuff I can find from the streets (clothing, electronics, tools and furniture etc.) and the amount of plastic they use in shops (orange juice is sold in solid plastic cans, which are as sturdy as flower watering pots I use in Finland ). In Finland I can imagine having an ecological impact by recycling and wearing second hand clothes. In NYC I understand that my environmentally conscious decisions do not have any impact.
In this city, ecologically steered design and arts, are reduced into mere fashion statements. Ecological orientation serves as a class signifier.
How to formulate this critical observation into a style and a movement? I currently think the most equalitarian and ecological style is to have NO-STYLE. Pickup, wear and use anything you find from the streets. When you see a person who is wearing ecobrands: Inform them that they are misguided (possibly by vomiting, like one of my favorite artists Kristofer Paetau during the artforum incident in 2005). The only sustainable way forward is to have NO-STYLE. To go forward we need to consume toxic stuff, learn plastic crafts and listen to algorithmically generated playlists on youtube. Pietari suggested the hashtag #deathhack for these efforts. More reading on class, looks and hiding your class with looks: So You Think You’ve Got Class? (2017) Charlotte Shane (Also related: Sebago docksides rant).
I’ve made a functional and novel sound pedal. The circuit is based on the Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer but I made some mistakes in the assembly, which cause the circuit to behave oddly. It doesn’t work like a bitcrusher, which the DGD is supposed to be. It self-oscillates and creates tunes which are affected by the level of the volume input and potentiometers, it also plays the radio and works like a distortion. A very interesting device (powered with a 9v battery / pedal power supply). As I understand the CD4049 (Buffered) is not grounded and I think the weird behaviour is caused by the signal & voltage working their way to the ground, through the potentiometers. It works great with drums, and creates changing melodic synth and bass lines which follow the rhythm. I added a LM386 amplifier (as an integrated circuit) to the effect to make it louder (The LM386 can also be powered independently so that it acts as a “clean” boost).
The circuit is housed in a Civil Defense V 750 (Model No. 5B) Dosimeter Model No. 5 Charger (C2-2). Serial No. 0005296. Which has been manufactured by the Industrial Electronic Hardware Corp. in New York City (Brooklyn!). The device was intended to reset radiation dosimeter values. If I understand it correctly these kinds of devices were available in fallout shelters during the cold war era in the city. This particular device was manufactured ca. 1962. I repurposed the potentiometer (10k) of the V 750 and used it controls the LM386 output. I’m currently waiting for potentiometer knobs and I’ll make a video of the device after I receive them. I call it the Civil Defence Crusher. It goes well with the Berlin Wall Distortion. Together they form the Sound of Cold War Infra custom guitar pedal series (Ore.e Ref.).